Hyperemesis Gravidarum - Morning Sickness Taken To A Whole New Level

Hyperemesis gravidarum – not too many people are aware of this condition. Most people have never even heard of it. I didn’t even know it existed until I experienced it myself.

I’m now 42 and find it quite hard to believe that in all my years, I have never seen Hyperemesis gravidarum addressed in any movie or television show in regards to a pregnancy. Unfortunately, you see or hear of miscarriages, placenta previa, toxemia, even regular morning sickness and other pregnancy related conditions, but never Hyperemesis gravidarum. Why is that? Well as 1 of the 200 women (statistically speaking) that experienced this phenomenon, I thought it was time to bring it to the forefront.

My husband and I always joked around that I am the only woman on this earth that he could have possibly married because I’m just as evil as him, and my womb is the only one on this planet that could carry his evil progeny to term. My “deviled eggs” mixed with his “demon seed” would eventually bring about our “evil spawn”. At least I thought he was joking until I actually got pregnant and experienced what I did. Till this day I blame it all on him and his “demon seed”. Hmmmmm…..

What is Hyperemesis gravidarum?

The majority of pregnant women experience some type of morning sickness. In about 1% of all pregnancies, the woman will experience extreme morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum.

Hyperemesis gravidarum is a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacids. More severe cases often require a stay in the hospital so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line (IV).

Hyperemesis gravidarum cannot be prevented, but there are ways to manage it.

The difference between morning sickness and hyperemeses gravidarum

Morning Sickness 
Hyperemesis Gravidarum 
Nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting 
Nausea accompanied by severe vomiting 
Nausea that subsides at 12 weeks or soon after 
Nausea that does not subside 
Vomiting that does not cause severe dehydration 
Vomiting that causes severe dehydration 
Vomiting that allows you to keep some food down
Vomiting that does not allow you to keep any food down

Signs and symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum:

  • Severe nausea and vomiting

  • Food aversions

  • Weight loss of 5% or more of pre-pregnancy weight

  • Decrease in urination

  • Dehydration

  • Headaches

  • Confusion

  • Fainting

  • Jaundice

In some cases hyperemesis gravidarum can be so severe that hospitalization may be necessary. Hospital treatment may include some or all of the following:

  • Intravenous fluids (IV) – to restore hydration, electrolytes, vitamins, and nutrients

  • Tube feeding:

  • Nasogastric – restores nutrients through a tube passing through the nose and to the stomach

  • Medications – metoclopramide, antihistamines, and antireflux medications

  • Percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy – restores nutrients through a tube passing through the abdomen and to the stomach; requires a surgical procedure

My Experience In A Nutshell...

Because of superstition, most women don’t reveal their pregnancy until they have passed the 3rd month. Unfortunately, I couldn’t roll like that. With as much vomiting as I was doing (and going to do), I pretty much had to let my employer (and everyone else) know from the get go. They literally got to experience the whole 9 months (as opposed to the 6 or 5) of my pregnancy, from beginning to end and all the sickness that came with it. By the time I was ready to give birth, everyone (and I mean everyone) was wondering if I was ever going to have this baby and exactly how long I had been pregnant for! It just seemed the longest pregnancy in history.


What Is That Smell????

The company I had worked for had a very large cafeteria that served fresh coffee daily and had microwaves for the employees to use. My “cubicle” was right outside the cafeteria. During my pregnancy, this was absolute torture! The smell of fresh brewed coffee would send me right to the infirmary as soon as I walked in the building. Then there would be those mornings when someone would decide they just had to have some popcorn. Normally, this would not bother me but as soon as I would smell that first popped kernel, I would get up from my desk, walk into the cafeteria and just stand there looking at the person making that damn popcorn. (I had been at the company about 10 years and knew pretty much everyone - as well as them knowing me). The person would look at me, noticing the greenish tinge that was slowly creeping up my face, and profusely apologized. Hey, what could ya do? People gotta eat. “It’s okay” I say as I make my way back to my desk trying not to puke my guts out.

But come lunch time, I couldn’t even stay in the building. With people heating up leftovers – the smells were just to damn much for me to take. God forbid someone actually heated up some fish before I was able to get outta there!

I have to say though, that the people at my former company (from top executive to mail clerk) were very supportive, sympathetic and considerate. They were (and still are) a good group of people.

Food – Are You Kidding Me?

Exactly what the heading says – are you kidding me? I could barely keep anything down. No – the crackers didn’t work, nor did the ginger ale, or the almonds or anything recommended in those damn pregnancy books. What did occasionally settle my stomach? Root beer and/or Dr. Pepper were the only things that helped whatsoever. I always had one or the other in my hand at any given time.

On one occasion, I had gone into a meeting (at least 7 months pregnant) holding a root beer in my hand (the dark brown bottle without the label). When I sat down at the conference table, everyone in attendance looked at me and asked me if that was “a beer”. I looked at them and said, “Really – are you kidding me? Do you honestly think that I would walk into a meeting with a beer, while pregnant? It’s root beer – what is wrong with you people?” They all chuckled (cause they didn’t want to feel stupid) and we moved on with the meeting. What is wrong with some people????

What was I able to eat? Well, with each child it was different. When I was pregnant with my son, all I wanted was a salad. A regular garden salad with lettuce, cucumbers, etc.. We were at Sizzlers at least twice a week for their salad bar. It was either that or I would be at Boston Market for the 3 side deal (creamed spinach, corn and mashed potatoes).

When I was pregnant with my daughter, we were still going to Sizzler twice a week, but this time it was for beef and beef alone. No salad this pregnancy, just meat, meat and more meat!!!! It was all I wanted and could stomach.

The funny thing I’ve noticed now - my son hates vegetables and loves beef while my daughter loves vegetables and hates beef. Go figure…

Did I have cravings? Twice – one time only with each pregnancy.

Pregnancy #1 – Oreos – need I say more. For one night and one night only, I wanted Oreos in the worst possible way. It was around 7pm when it hit me. Told my husband that I wanted him to go out and get me some Oreos. He was tired and said no, that he’d get them tomorrow. WHAT??? He didn’t understand, I NEEDED those Oreos (this was his first experience with pregnancy as well, and he didn’t understand the consequences at this time, so I won’t hold it against him). He was very adamant, he was not going out. I was very stubborn, yes he was. Well, suffice it to say, he did not go out to get me the Oreos. I in turn made the rest of his night a total living hell. So much so that the next day, he walked in with a huge bag of Oreos, apologized and said he would get me anything I wanted so that he never had to go through what he went through last night. I thanked him, ate about 5 Oreos and didn’t touch them again the rest of my pregnancy.

Did he remember this experience and learn from his mistakes? Damn right he did…

Pregnancy #2 – Blooming Onion! Yep, a Blooming Onion – like the one that the Outback serves, deep fried goodness - yum. About 9pm at night is when it hits me. I must have a Blooming Onion. I look at my husband, he knows what’s coming. “What do you want?” he asks. I tell him. He gets this look on his face but knows not to deny me. He says, “Where do you want to go? The Outback is too far.” I suggest a closer place that serves something similar and we head out the door. Craving satisfied that night without further incident AND he won $44 while we were out (played a lottery game).

I Feel So Fat!

The one thing I did not feel while I was pregnant was fat. I barely gained any weight. I gained about 16lbs. with each of my pregnancies. From the back, I didn’t even look pregnant. I didn’t really have to start wearing maternity clothes until my 7th month. People would see me one day in regular clothes and then the next in maternity clothes. They would ask when I was due. When I told them that I was due in about 6 weeks, they would bug out! I had been pregnant this whole time and they didn’t even know it. The only plus is that after the birth(s) the baby weight came off super fast.

I'm Gonna Hurl...

Nausea – the bane of my pregnancy. Way beyond just your usual morning sickness. From that first moment I sensed its invasive presence (2 weeks before my pregnancies were confirmed) right up to the freakin delivery room as I’m giving birth. Nausea tortured me throughout both pregnancies. So much so that I was dehydrated, hospitalized, placed on home I.V. treatments and was on medication (suppositories – YUCK). And believe it or not, the second pregnancy was way worse than the first.

I remember, a day after giving birth, realizing that I was no longer feeling any kind of nausea. I was so damn excited that I asked anyone and everyone to bring me a cup of coffee or something to eat. Finally - I could eat anything I wanted again. Woo Hoo!!!!!

Now, I know that there might be some different opinions out there on what I’m about to say – but hey, after what I went through….

When I was asked if I wanted to breast feed or bottle feed, there really was only one choice for me – bottle feed.

I’m sorry but after not really being able to eat for 9 months (and when I did, not being able to keep it down), I was not about to worry about what I could or couldn’t eat while breast feeding. I was going to eat anything and everything I wanted. So formula it was. Had I not suffered from Hyperemesis gravidarum, I might have chosen to breast feed.

My evil spawn - Rowan (top) and Jesse (bottom)
My evil spawn - Rowan (top) and Jesse (bottom)

Third Time Is A Charm?

Hell No!!!! Sorry, I have my boy and my girl; two beautiful, healthy children. No more for me. Even my doctor suggested that I not get pregnant again and I completely agreed! Maybe if my pregnancies had not been so rough, I would have gone for it one more time but just thinking about being pregnant was enough birth control for me. Every once in a while my daughter will ask me if she can have a baby sister. I swallow the bile that automatically rises in my throat (pregnancy memories) and tell her that unfortunately it’s not going to happen because mommy can’t have anymore babies now – I tell her I’m too old. She temporarily accepts that and moves on. Whew! Dodged that bullet. At least until the next time she asks.  

How Many Of Us Are Out There???

Have you suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during your pregnancy?

  • Yes - and I feel your pain.
  • No - just normal morning sickness.
  • Lucky me - I wasn't sick at all.
See results without voting

At Least There's Something About It On Video!!!


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 7 years ago from Queens, New York Author

I tried to put a news module on here but can you believe it - there was nothing in the news about Hyperemesis gravidarum. Nada - Zip - See What I Mean!!!!

fishtiger58 profile image

fishtiger58 6 years ago from Momence, Illinois

OMG way funny. I do so love a good laugh, sorry not at your expense. I was never sick with my 2 kids, but my first pregnancy I craved lemon, yes lemons so much I had to stop eating them because my lips were blistering. 2nd pregnancy was peanut butter cups, much easier on my lips lol.Thanks for a really great read.

pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Thanks for being the first to stop by and visit my hub! It's okay to laugh - I now can :-) That's too funny about the lemons - I can't believe your lips actually blistered! The things we women have to go through and put up with. That's why we are the stronger sex :-) Glad you enjoyed.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

this is comprehensive Pattie, very nice explanations, thats what pregnancy for us LOL,

hope you enjoyed Christmas and the foods, (seafood too), maita

pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Hello Maita. Hope you had a wonderful holiday. The food wasn't bad - for seafood - would have rather had a nice big steak :-)

Glad you liked the hub. This is the reason I only have 2 children. Could not go through this a third time. Only a woman could possibly understand - lol. We are the superior sex :-)

Momma of Two 6 years ago

I had severe hyperemesis too! I had it with both of my pregnancies too! I have a 2 month old and I lost 38 pounds with him! It's miserable and not enough people know anout it-- or could possibly understand what we went through!! I really enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for sharing!

I just started my own blog about my experience. I'd love it if you could stop by and tell me what you think!

I'm glad your NOT pregnant anymore and enjoying your free body!

pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

OMG!!! You are the only other person I know of who has had it let alone heard of it!!! It IS a miserable condition and my heart goes out to anyone unfortunate enought to have it. I am definitely going to stop buy and check out your blog. Thanks for visiting Momma - Rock on :-)

erica s 6 years ago

I too had the bad experience with this hyperemesis crap! I was so happy when I finally had my daughter, I could actually have a pepsi and even give my husband a kiss.lol

It was so bad that my husband couldn't be near me at all, my sense of smell was very sensitive. I want to have another baby but I don't want to go through that experience ever again.

pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Thanks for the comment erica s! I know exactly what you mean - I was afraid to have my second because of the hyperemesis and the second time around was worse than the first. But as a mother, you know that it's all worth it. My doctor tells me that there are new treatments out there so maybe your second pregnancy won't be as bad. After my second though, since I had both a boy and girl, I closed up shop - lol. Was definitely not brave enough to go through it a third time. Thanks & good luck :D

Carlyn 6 years ago

I had hyperemesis, luckily for only the first 4 months, but it was violent, and I ended up vomiting every hour on the hour, so I ended up on constant IV and needed Chemo Meds to make it stop... I can absolutely relate! going on 6 months now, and still throw up every so often I can not wait until my fridge no longer makes me gag (diary is my enemy!!!!!)

Sydney Mum 6 years ago

I too had hyperemesis for all three of my pregnancies, and to complicate the medical condition I am also a type 1, insulin dependent diabetic (and have been since I was a child). The constant vomiting (and I do mean CONSTANT) and fatigue until the babies were taken out placed me into a high-risk health category, and I spent most of my pregnancies in hospital hooked up to a glucose drip, in a desperate attempt to control my diabetes. Everything made me sick - even the smells of shampoo, soap and deodorant!Anti-nausea drugs like Zofran didn't do much to stop the vomiting, and I got sick of my obstetrician constantly telling me in a hopeful voice that the condition "may" (fingers crossed haha) improve as the pregnancy progressed. As was the case with my first 2 pregnancies, the vomiting didn't improve one single bit :)

My third pregnancy was to a supposedly loving and longterm boyfriend, who walked out on me the minute I informed him I was pregnant (it was not planned). I knew that within a matter of weeks I would be rendered completely dependent on other people to support me financially, look after me during the constant vomiting and lying in bed feeling like death, and help me with my other children. Keeping that baby was the hardest decision I have ever made in my life, and getting through that pregnancy was like climbing Mt Everest.

By 22 weeks I was admitted to hospital on a full-time basis, and the hospital was an hour's drive from where my parents lived (they were helping significantly with my other children). Because of school routines and the distance involved, my mother would only bring my other little ones to see me once or twice each week, and my friends dropped by the wayside for reasons known only to themselves (I assume because I was pregnant, sick as a dog, very very alone and very very broke). Evening visiting time was the worst time for me in the twelve weeks I spent in hospital, that was the time other fathers/husbands and children would visit their pregnant wives, whereas most of the time I had no-one, and still had my head in a bucket throwing up.

My little baby was born at 32 weeks, and spent 7 weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit. My caesarean was a disaster - I had only hours notice to prepare for the fact the baby was arriving early, my placenta had failed. The epidural didn't work and I felt the cutting, only to end up having an emergency GA and missing the birth completely (the so-called father had no contact with me throughout the pregnancy and was not there for the birth).

I woke up the next morning and the nausea was completely gone. This same thing happened with my other pregnancies. I would say to anyone experiencing hyperemesis and contemplating an abortion DON'T DO IT! This is not what God wants you to do, and if He can give me the strength to get through a pregnancy with no support from the father, no money and months in hosital connected to a drip, then He will support you also. Just ask Him for strength. Honestly, if you are reading this and thinking abortion is your only option, then let me tell you when my son (now six) puts his little arms around me and smiles at me, my heart breaks at the thought of ending his precious life, and believe me - I certainly did consider doing that. I am so grateful I didn't. Pregnancy is like everything else in life, it has a beginning, a middle and an end. Focus on the end!

Jasmine 6 years ago

Love your story. My name is Jasmine I am on my second pregnacy. Im 19 i just had my daughter last november and i was always sik to and only gained about 10 pounds no doctor told me what was wrong now with this one its so much worse and i feel like im dying im only about 11 wks and its killing me now i have strep throat and everything bad is happening sumtimes i wish i would just miscarry but hey if you and all these other women can get through it maybe i can its justiring thank you for your advice-jazz

pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York Author

Carlyn, Sydney Mum & Jasmine - it does help to know that you were not the only one to go through this - doesn't it - although some obviously worse than others (Sydney Mum).

Jasmine - I agree with Sydney Mum - no matter how bad it gets, just hang in there and keep thoses negative thoughts away. Believe it or not - we are given what we can handle (even I may not have agreed with that statement while pregnant) but it will end soon - trust me, the minute that beautiful child of yours is born you will amazingly realize that the nausea has gone.

Thank you all for your comments - rock on ladies!!!

Lisa 5 years ago

I am 12 weeks pregnant and have Hyperemesis and i had never heard of it. I have had two children and just suffered regular morning/ any time sickness but was able to eat and kept most of it down. now i eat only dry food and drink only milk that all that stays in and that in moderation. i hope it doesnt last the whole pregnancy! but i have slept for almost three weeks due to the anti sickness drugs but it that or i go into hospital. i am a teacher and have been unable to work for a whole half term now and i never miss work 3 day sick in 8 years!

I am now waiting for first scan and praying this has no connection to multiples as we have familly history and i question why the change from my last two?

Danja 5 years ago

I had severe hyperemesis too. My first obgyn told me I was so sick because my pregnancy was unplanned and I didn't really want my baby. He suggested a late term abortion, at 5 months. This was the same day he told me I was having a girl. Needless to say, I found a new doctor. I spent much of my pregnancy in the hospital, was unable to work, and had to be put on constant IV fluids, and a zofran pump. I lost 35 lbs, and my baby was born 6 weeks early, and only weighed 3lbs 6 oz due to severe interuterine growth restriction. She's now a healthy 2 year old, I would love to have another, but am reluctant because of my prior experience.

Danielle 4 years ago

I loved reading this. I know I'm a little late but I googled this condition and this came up. I have the same thing :( and I know people won't understand but I was pregnant twice & I couldn't make it through either of them :( I was on a reglan pump and in the hospital every other day staying the night getting an IV and nausea medicine. My second pregnancy I made it to 3 months and then the medicine stopped working. I literally thought I was going to die. My mom would have to carry me to the car to get me to the hospital bc I was so weak. I lost about 20 lbs. it was the most scary and the absolute worst feeling. One time in the hospital the nurse looked at me and said how ate you still cooking?! I looked at my blood pressure and it was 75/50 I think or the other way around I forget which goes first. I gave up both times I just couldn't take it anymore. I literally felt like I was going to die. Well today 5 years after my last pregnancy I found out I'm pregnant again. I want this more than anything but I'm so scared :( I wish I could figure out how to get through this!!!!!!

Manouchka 4 years ago

worst feeling ever, i was in bed for 12 weeks,My doctor even tried cancer medication, nothing work... i was very suicidal and depressed, what a horrible feeling!!!!!! even taking a shower was a burden,I lost 20lbs, my skin was scaly and i could even drink WATER, I gave up and had an abortion, I think about my unborn child every day now i am obsessed with babies and scared that i wil not be abe to ever have a child if i have to go through this again, I hope they do more research on this disease. i salute every women that i have to go through HG. nOW THAT I HAVE MY HEALTH BACK i want to try again but i have to remind myself everyday of those days of insomnia, constipation, constant vomiting and nausea, hemorrhages,depression to name a few

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